Of all my six incurable diseases, psoriasis is the one least likely to kill me, and also the one I hate the most. It tortures me daily and makes me wish I could take off all of my skin and switch it out for an entirely new set, like a suit of clothes. Seriously, does it come in Brad Pitt? How about blue? That would be special.
Psoriasis, for those of you lucky enough not to know this, is a skin disease where the skin develops little volcanoes of dead skin cells. They become white or silvery or red flaky patches that continually erupt, crack, and embarrass me to no end. People like me who suffer from the disease become rather paranoid about letting our spots show. I look like a pink and white Dalmatian at times, and I end up wearing long sleeved shirts in summertime Texas where it gets to be 104 degrees in the shade on a regular basis. No more swimsuits for me. No more shaving or haircuts either. I accept being called a hippie or a dirty bum now because it is easier than making people understand about my disease and its consequences. I itch constantly. Whole areas of my body burn with skin irritation and make people draw back in horror if they see it, mostly because of the erroneous perception that I might infect them too.
It is a disease of the body’s immune system, and it can’t be transmitted by contact in any way. It is more of an inherited thing passed on from my parents or grandparents… though it probably was greatly aided in plaguing me because I am also diabetic. I cannot infect anyone with the disease… though I don’t enjoy the reaction I get when someone sees the large patch of psoriasis I have on my lower back. It is a horrible, decayed-looking open sore that takes practically forever to go away. I also enjoy a healthy crop of psoriasis patches on my private parts… the reason I often spend alone time sitting naked at the computer, writing and complaining about stuff, and trying to be funny about stuff like death and psoriasis, while all the time trying to avoid the urge to scratch and make it worse. There is probably a snowbank of dead skin flakes under my bed by now… I’m afraid to look and see what might be growing under there. If I decided to be a Sith Lord like Darth Vader, I don’t have to burn off all of my skin before I put on the suit. The crusty patches and scarring are already in place for the big take-off-the-helmet scene. I could also probably win a part on the Walking Dead TV show because I wouldn’t need as much skin make-up. But I would certainly be willing to forgo these wonderful opportunities if there were a way to suddenly get rid of this disease. Unfortunately, I think that is not exactly what the word “incurable” has in mind.
So what’s the point of sharing this beyond the gratuitous gross-out value of the humor? Well, that’s probably exactly what I had in mind, but I hope you will also realize that I am not the only person in the world who has this disease. Many people have it worse than I do. Children have it far more often that seems fair by the standards of karma. Maybe, when you meet someone who has the problem, you could be a little nicer to them. They are not lepers or plague-carriers. They are not infectious. And they could use a little more understanding…a little more love.